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Summer starts

These are dates you surely should remember. The Eureka Montana Quilt Show is August 4th this year.  As always this event decorates the entire town with beautiful quilts up and down main street but the Historical Village is really where the action happens.  Vendors, a display of mini quilts, quilts on all the buildings and the museum open with its own selection of quilt sales offer a lot to chose from.  IMG_2219

Shakespeare in the Parks comes to the Historical Village on August 21 with “Othello.”  The play starts at 6:00pm and box dinners go on sale at 5:00pm.  This event is always a lovely way to spend the evening so bring a blanket or a chair and get ready for some awesome theater.  As always, the play is free to the public.  Sunburst Community Service Foundation brings in Shakespeare in the Parks annually with help from Lincoln Electric Coop, Interbel, donations from the community and box dinner sales that evening.

Both fantastic events that are available to anyone to enjoy.  Both take place on the Historical Village grounds which are a delight in the summer with the soft grass and shady trees.  As always volunteers strive to keep everything well maintained for locals as well as out of town visitors to enjoy.  The Great IMG_2620Northern caboose just had major renovation.  The museum is getting some roof repairs.  The playground equipment and latrines are in fine working order. And Bev has lined out docents who have the Village buildings open everyday until early September from 1:00 – 5:00pm.

It just doesn’t get much better does it?  Life in the Tobacco Valley is pretty sweet this time of year so take a morning or afternoon or evening to wander through the Historical Village grounds.  Or come for one of the awesome events that will take place.  Hope to see you there.

 

 

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Ageism

I suppose it is no surprise a tinge of ageism creeps in when quilting with this group of women.  Our ages stretch from mid sixties to mid nineties.  Besides piecing, hand quilting and putting on bindings, these women also set up wooden quilt frames which are large enough to hold a queen size quilt.  They schlep boxes with fabrics and other odds and ends when there is a rummage sale.  They schlep boxes of books when there is a book quilterslinesale. They move furniture around in the museum as needed, set up displays and archive the treasures.  They trim bushes on the grounds, pick up trash and shovel snow – whatever the season requires.  They keep accounts, run membership campaigns, and sell raffle tickets.  They oversee construction projects in the Historical Village and often do some of these projects themselves.  Two of the quilters recently helped to replace broken slats in the boardwalk.

When there is work to be done, especially this time of year, we look around at our ranks and wonder where some younger people are.  Not so much because we can’t manage, but because it seems there are things young people might learn about maintaining their valley’s heritage and running a museum, picking up skills along the way such as grant writing and chinking an old log building. And this is where ageism slips out, while sitting over the quilt stitching. Remarks are made about ‘those’ people who spend too much screen time, or time constantly checking messages on their phones.  Or those people who say they would like to help out but it is just too difficult for them to find time on a Wednesday morning or a Saturday afternoon or any other time when help might be needed at the Historical Village.

Thus that tricky sneer of ageism, the shrug of shoulders, the roll of eyes at the group – those young people – who are summarily dismissed.  And of course it isn’t true as of course there are some young people who do make an effort, who do show up.  Magdalena, delightfully middle aged, stepped up to help on a regular basis at the museum.  Madison, who  graduates from high school this June, is bringing a group of her high school friends over next week to weed. But as some of the current quilters started helping at the Historical Village back in the 1970s, they wonder where the young people are who will pick up the torch to carry it forward.  And young doesn’t necessarily mean teens or twenties. Middle aged is fine for learning the skills we can teach, or bringing skills already honed.  As we keep our eyes open for individuals willing to step up, ready to take the torch, we also are going to try hard not to fall prey to ageism.

 

 

The wonders

This quilting season is nearly over. Only a few more weeks and the old school house will be transformed into part of the museum.  Tourists will reminisce about the small wooden desks, the old maps showing countries that no longer exist.  Children visiting will pull hard on the rope to ring the school bell high up in the belfry.  Volunteer docents will open the historical buildings everyday from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  The quilters will take a break from their Friday routine.  Some will continue to sew at home. Others will put their energy into gardening.  And of course with summer in Montana, IMG_2571there are always plenty of out of town guests.

Although there is a symmetry to the quilting that happens every Friday from September til May, there are also changes.  Renata had the awesome idea to display quilts in the old church over Rendezvous weekend.  We received many compliments and one of the quilts sold.  A few new people to town have become great volunteers to help with displays in the museum and to help keep the grounds neat.  Bev is taking over scheduling docents for the museum. No easy feat to have a schedule that includes having someone knowledgeable to work there every single day of summer.  Dianne and a few others are putting together a mass mailing – the first time we have done anything like this.  We know we need to find more support for keeping the buildings in good shape, for having volunteers help with projects, for paying bills.

Often we roll our eyes – how many times do we need to explain that Lincoln County owns the land under the Historical Village, but the buildings, grounds and upkeep are managed by the Tobacco Valley Board of History? Since the 1970s, a stalwart group of volunteers have kept this lovely area of Eureka in tact.  Items are carefully archived. Old photos filed. Questions answered when someone stops by to ask about the early days.

As you attend Shakespeare in the Park or the Eureka Montana Quilt Show this summer (both events held at the Historical Village), appreciate the grounds, this lovely public space that is so valuable to our community.  Consider some small way you might help us maintain it.

 

Picking up speed

Yes, the snow is nearly melted in our valley.  There are still patches under trees and on the north side of the old school house but otherwise we see bare ground, mud puddles and a few spring flowers pushing through.  The women are hard at it trying to get the current quilts finished by the end of April.  That is when things shift for us into the next season.

On April 28, it is Rendezvous in Eureka which mean vendors fill the Historical Village grounds and there is the largest parade of the year down main street.  The old school IMG_2278house will be transformed from the place we quilt all winter into a book sale.  Stop by if you are in town to pick up some great bargains. Then in May school children take their annual trip to visit the museum. We also have a rummage sale, another opportunity for bargains and to get raffle tickets for a lovely quilt we made.  And finally on May 26, the Historical Village announces the summer season.  Everyday until Labor Day, volunteer docents will open all the buildings and are available to provide information to visitors from 1:00 – 5:00pm.

So now we are trying to get the last quilts finished up.  Jana, a guest from the Czech Republic, has been joining us to learn how to quilt and to share her travel adventures with the women as they sew.  Cathryn created a pile of new baby quilts that are perfect to welcome little ones to the world. Sally made some lovely children quilts that are for sale in the museum along with our full size tied quilts and, of course, the beautiful hand quilted ones.  If you are in town for Rendezvous or just ambling through the Historical Village grounds on a sunny afternoon, stop by to learn about our valley’s history and perhaps purchase a quilt to support this remarkable space.

Thank you Eureka!

This past Friday it snowed. A lot. And it didn’t look good. It wasn’t just the fact that most of us are tired of winter by this point, but the concern that bad roads might hamper people coming to the fundraiser in Trego on Saturday afternoon.  Saturday though dawned better with a bit of sun and so our anticipation became more optimistic.  But you never know do you with these community events if there will be enough people, if its possible to even make the costs of putting the thing on let alone raise funds to help support the Historical Village?  On top of the weather and other unknowns, there were questions about the event itself. We hadn’t really done anything quite like this before. A concert with a band from out of the area (actually The Wardens are from Canada so out of the country!) with a potluck and community jam to follow.  We had decided to do it in Trego because the hall there is so nice with great acoustics and a large kitchen, plus enough space if we did get a real turn out.  But would we? Would people drive from Eureka on snowy roads to support the Historical Village and enjoy this potentially great event?IMG_2226

Al went out early that day to get a fire going so the hall would be warm.  He also plowed the parking lot (thank you so much!).  The band arrived around 1:30 to start setting up.  Quilters and John Linn came a little later to hang quilts and set up tables for selling some handmade items.  With the concert scheduled to begin at 4:00pm, one might hope people would start to show up at 3:30ish but it started very slow.  Finally around 3:45 cars began to pull in and then more cars.  We had to set up extra chairs.  When people were still coming through the door at 4:00, the band decided to start a few minutes late.  What a fabulous turnout!  Over seventy people came to listen to great music, potluck with neighbors and then hang a bit for the jam.  Some people played music, some danced, some talked with friends, some met new people, some tried new foods (Dawn’s outrageous Bhutan momos).

It isn’t only the wonderful turn out but the energy people brought to the event that made it such a great evening.  Lots of laughter and hugs.  We sold a quilt and a box of Mary Louise’s homemade chocolates.  Some folks generously wrote checks to support the Historical Village.  Others asked for information to learn more about the Tobacco Valley Board of History.  And the help that made this all possible!  From John climbing his 10′ ladder to hang quilts to Mike washing dishes and Mircea mopping the floor.  Everyone pitched in to set up chairs and then at the end of the evening, to put chairs away.  Ray got the jam circle going, Ed helped the band carry their things out to the van, Patty and Darrell took trash bags to the dumpsters.  What a special evening…what a special community.  Thank you, Eureka!

Saturday evening in Trego

Late winter in this part of Montana can be gray.  And once we move from constant snow to snow with mud, that grayness feels even more difficult to endure.  Which is why the Historical Village volunteers had the great idea to have a late winter community event that promises to rock your socks and raise some funds for maintaining the Village.

On March 3rd, The Wardens play at the Trego Hall starting at 4pm.  An easy time of day to drive out and catch this great band from Canmore, Canada.  Up in those parts, a Wardens-Promo-3_Credit-Ray-Schmidtranger is called a warden. These three musicians/wardens have worked in the back country around Banff for a lot of years so know mountains and horses as well as music.  Admission for the concert is $8/per with tickets on sale at the door.

We figured once folks come out to Trego to hear good music, they might just want to stay and enjoy themselves a bit longer.  There will be a potluck after the concert (starting around 5:30) and then a music jam.  Ray and Shirley Jacobs met The Wardens recently and encouraged us to bring them to Eureka.  They will be there.  Hope you are too.  If you want a preview of The Wardens, check out their website here.

So mark March 3rd on your calendar and come out for a good time.  Bring a dish to pass if you want to stay for the potluck, and if you play music then please bring your instrument along.  Otherwise come to listen and enjoy this late winter treat.  Oh, and there will be beautiful handmade quilts for sale as well.

Try a bit harder

The holidays are happening. Snow is starting to pile up. Sidewalks are slippery. Bazaar sales at the Historical Village have gone well although of course we hope there will be last minute shoppers on December 22nd.  Last Friday the quilters had their annual party – a potluck and then gift exchange.  The delicious food put everyone in a sleepy mood but we continued sewing until our usual closing time.  Lynda and Sally even set up a second quilt that we will tie next week, a colorful cotton one Cathryn pieced.  Although I am often content to sit and talk rather than sew, the pace is such that I feel compelled to be as productive as the others (no easy task with this group of women).IMG_1830

As usual we are sewing, talking with any visitors who stop by to drop off something or to buy some lovely handmade item, and discussing how to raise money to cover the Village’s costs, and how to get all the things done from archiving to replacing broken pieces of the boardwalk.  It often feels there isn’t enough time for all we need to accomplish but somehow we still manage to listen to stories about families and friends, laugh at Bev’s jokes and grumble if the needle is not going through as easily as we might like.

Amidst the talk, different quilters talk about other volunteer work they are doing – helping with the Winter Bird Count, the library, the thrift store, the church.  Its amazing how these individuals find time to do all this to make our community as good as possible.  There might be a concern when we don’t see younger people stepping up to help with these projects and really in this case, younger is broad.  We not only think about high school students but adults in their twenties to fifties.  Of course there are volunteers but there never seems to be quite enough.  So we hope some folks out there will put volunteering down as a New Year’s resolution.  Once a week for a few hours surely would mean a lot.